A 27-year-old Star Valley man was cited Tuesday morning for discharging a firearm in Grand Teton National Park after encountering an adult grizzly and two cubs near the Snake River.
The fisherman, whose name wasn’t released by park officials, told rangers he was near the “worm hole” area of the river, about three-quarters of a mile from Jackson Lake Dam, when he heard a noise behind him. He turned and saw the adult grizzly stand on its hind legs.
When the bear stood up “the fisherman fired one shot into the ground to the side of the bear. The bears then turned around and departed the area,” a park spokesman said in a press release Wednesday.
“Initial reports indicate that the fisherman had bear spray, but was unable to use it,” the spokesman said.
The man reported the incident at Signal Mountain Campground and later talked to rangers at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. He must appear before a federal magistrate to answer the citation.
Rangers are investigating the case and asked anyone who was in the area who might have information to call the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 739-3301.
Visitors have been allowed to carry firearms in national parks since 2010, but the discharge of firearms is not allowed in Teton park and may result in fines and other penalties. One exception is the park’s Elk Reduction Program, when a fall hunt is allowed to cull the area’s elk herd.